Our Secret Melody

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Lyric: Seventy-Three

Kai’s POV:

“I still can’t believe it...how? How did you three do it? In this year alone...you broke records than any group could ever achieve in a lifetime.”

I heard my father say to us, with Zack sitting on my left and Jin sitting on my right.

We kept quiet as manager Sang and my father went over the record files. Looking at the many awards hanging by the walls behind them, we claimed so much this year and it’s still insane for me to comprehend just the amount of growth we’ve achieved. But we didn’t do it alone...if it wasn’t for our many fans supporting us greatly. We never would have reached our goal.

“I’m still needing to process everything if what I’m seeing is real or not, all that’s left is for you boys to perform one last time in the city of Seoul. But, are you boys sure you want this to be your last performance? You all have so much potential to make more history in your music-”

“Manager Sang, we thank you for always being there to help us. And even now, I know you just want us to reach greater heights, however, Kai and me...we’ve reached our goal. So our journey ends here...” Jin explained with a kindly bow.

“I understand...well, I am a man of my word. Kai, if you still wish to end ExEx Idol. Then sign these papers, you to Jin. Zack, you spoke to me earlier that you still wish to work with the company. Though you mentioned a new change of rules that you want to talk over before signing a contract, correct?”

My father said as he handed Jin and me the forms for us to sign...

“Yes sir, ExEx Idol will always be the muse in my heart. But now that it’s coming to an end...I still wish to make music. Though I would like to go solo on this journey...I can’t picture myself performing with any other group or with new people.”

Zack respectfully bowed towards my father as he finished speaking.

“That’s fine with me, Zack. But just know that your three will have to do a press conference regarding the retirement of the group today. Though it won’t be live, the interviews you do will be released right after you give your final speech to your performance tomorrow. But know that your performance will be recorded live all around the world.”

Manager Sang explained to us as Jin and I handed him our written forms.

“Son...do you have anything to say? This will be the last time you three will be together as a group.” My father asked as I felt everyone’s eyes on me...

I’ve yet to say anything since being in Sang’s office. But realizing that this really will be one of our final moments together. I raised my head and looked over at Jin and Zack. They both held smiles, this year...it’s been an emotional rollercoaster for us three. The anger, the sadness, the frustration, and the tiredness... we’ve endured so much. And to see that it was all well worth it. Made my heart feel so much lighter... however...it still feels incomplete without her.

“Sang, Father, Jin, Zack...thank you...for everything.”

I respectfully said to all four of them as I stood up from the chair. Only to then get on my knees to bow towards all of them.

“Kai! You don’t have to get on your knees, come on, get up!”

I heard Zack say sounding surprised by my actions as he came rushing towards me. Helping me get back up, I ran my fingers through my hair as I looked directly at Father.

“With everything that we have gone through...and what I had to endure in this past year. I’m certain you know what I speaking about, knowing that manager Sang tells you everything about what happens to all of us. It shouldn’t be a surprise as to why I wish to retire...”

I said to him as I made my way in his direction...

“Yes...Sang explained everything to me. And was I surprised when he did? No, I wasn’t, it’s true that you went against the rules of your contract. But you kept your word in the very end...and for that. I’m very proud of you...and your mother-”

“I know she’ll be proud of me...you don’t need to say it. The relationship that you and I have...I want it to remain the same, however, when I come to a point in my life when I want you to actually be a father figure in my future...and be there to see his grandchildren grow...and to be able to see my mother’s grave finally. Will you be okay with accepting all of that... because even if we have issues that need to be fix within time. I will still ask for your blessing when it comes to marrying the woman I love...”

I strictly explained to him as the silence in the room grew thick. It took my Dad a while to speak as he tried to find the right words...

“My blessing? I don’t think I have the right to give my blessings to you. And even if I did...and refused. You’ll probably still marry the woman you care for...Kai, I know I wasn’t a good father...but I promise you...I will try my best if given a second chance.”

He responded in a slight bow, he then looked over at Sang who handed him a stack of papers.

“Kai, when Sang told me about this girl...I was speechless that you were able to find someone who accepted everything you had gone through. But know that even though she was able to love and accept all your flaws. Doesn’t mean that her family will...so make sure you make it very clear to them who you actually are. Because regardless of your retirement, you will forever be seen as people’s Idols. And that is a permanent life that you have given to yourself and it can become a burden. So I want you to be honest...not just with yourself, but to the world when they see you.”

With my father giving me the best advice he can give, he patted my shoulders before taking his leave.

“There’s going to be a lot of questions that everyone will be asking you tonight, the press conference that I’ve scheduled for you guys will be towards the album you’ve released. However, I made this small group of reporters sign a non-disclosure agreement regarding anything else that isn’t ExEx Idol related, so just be prepared for whatever questions they tell you. Zack, don’t mention anything about you becoming a solo artist until we get everything signed first. For now, you are retiring with the group...other than that, you can all be honest with your feelings from here on out. Now that I’m saying that, I feel like I’ve neglected you three when it came to understanding you all emotionally. I tried, I did, but I will never be able to comprehend the painful turmoil that you’ve all went through. And I’m sorry that I came across as strict with all of you...I guess I was just trying to toughen you guys. Wish I knew that I was only doing that exact opposite... anyways, go downstairs and start getting ready.”

Sang’s apology was very much how I expected it to be since Sang isn’t one to say sorry so easily. So I’ll accept it how it is...

With Zack and Jin bowing and taking their leave, I was the last one to head towards the door. Though mid-way down the hallway, I stopped at my tracks and looked forward at the elevator waiting for me. Deciding to turn around, I looked back at Sang with a pleasant smile. He stared at me confused, though gave me the brightest smile once he heard what I had to say to him...

“Sang....thank you for everything you’ve done for us... asshole.” I responded with sincerity before taking my leave.

Once we were all inside the elevator, it became quiet as all we heard was the passing of floors. Though Zack was the one who broke the silence as he pulled out his phone. He then looked over at me and then at Jin while giving out a sigh.

“I know this isn’t any of you’re guy’s businesses, but my sister... she’s dating this guy. Apparently, it’s pretty serious since they’ve been together for a while...so me and my family will be flying out to Europe within this week so we could see them...but I’ll still be here to see you off, Jin. I still can’t believe that you’ll be going off to do military service, are you sure you want to do the 3 years? That’s a long time...”

Zack said as the elevator doors finally opened for us.

“It may sound like a long time, but I feel like the days will pass by quickly. And I’m glad, it’s about time Lily found someone to make her feel special. But I’m more proud that she was able to move on from this idiot.”

Jin jokingly said as he shoved my shoulder as we all made our way to the makeup studio.

“Shut up, I’ve already heard rumors of her dating someone. But I’m also happy for her...all I want is for her to always smile. Zack, let us know if the guy ever makes Lily cry. Jin and I will be more than happy to fuck him up for you.”

I strictly said in a wicked smirk as we all took our seats and waited for our makeup artists.

“For sure, but...you guys. I’m starting to get nervous...I know we’ve done many press conferences before. But it’s different this time, this will be our last group session together. Just thinking about it makes me feel...ugh! I wish Mel was here so she could pinch me and loosened my nerves!”

As Zack spoke, he looked over at me in an awkward expression before staring back at Jin.

“Sorry, but I have to ask...Jin, how is she doing? I know you still talk with her since I overheard you last time on the phone...”

Zack asked as our makeup artist began to apply product on our faces.

Not once, since Rose had left. Have I ever brought her up...It’s bad enough I’m always thinking and dreaming about her. In this past year, I would sometimes hear Zack and Jin talking about her. Though I try my best to ignore it, it’s not possible. But I think, I’m just too afraid to hear something I don’t wish to know. Like, has she moved on? Is her health bad? Is she sad? Any little discomfort I hear about Rose only makes my heartache...

“She’s doing fine, she’s still working at the same beauty salon. And she’s helping her family with bills and...she’s doing her best in being happy.” Jin explained in a bittersweet smile.

With nothing else to say, Zack simply nodded as we all prepared to get dressed. I’m glad that the press meeting will be here in the company. Though what Zack said was true, we’ve done countless interviews before. But with this being our last one, it’s making me a little sad for some reason...I guess it’s slowly beginning to hit me that I’m coming to the end of this dream of mine.

After we had finished getting ready, we were led to one of the upper floors where we were told to be on stand-by until the reporters had everything ready and set up. Letting out a tiresome sigh, I closed my eyes and tilted my head back to calm the rapid beating of my heart. This is it...this is where I let myself be vulnerable and let things go...

As we were finally told to step out, the flashes of their cameras went off as we all calmly walked towards our seats before bowing. It was only then that we were all bombarded with one question after another. Jin avoided speaking of his mother just how I did with mine, I decided that I will continue to let the world hate my mother. The thought of people feeling sorry for her will only anger me, which is why I will not go into further details of my suicide attempt. However, I will make it very clear how serious the matter can be... though I don’t want sympathy. That isn’t what I want for my life...I’ve made music for a reason. Because that’s how I want to be remembered by...

"Kai! I understand that Lily is dating a famous athlete in Europe. How do you feel about that? There were rumors in that past that you two were dating.”

“Jin! Is it true that you will be leaving to do military service?”

“Zack, are you dating anyone at the moment? And how do you feel about your sister dating?”

“Kai! Please explain the scandalous photos that were posted of you last year. You never addressed the issues and some of your fans are still fairly upset about it.”

“Why are you all deciding to retire from ExEx Idol?”

“Kai! You’re the leader of the group, what do you have to say to all of your fans about leaving?”

With every question they asked, we answered as truthfully as we could. Though Zack, Jin, and I avoided bringing up Rose. I won’t say her name...not until I know she’s still willing to be by my side. So I will keep the answers vague, but I will not regret anything when I leave here today. Because tomorrow...I plan on showing the world my inner emotions and my heart that will always beat for the love that I was given.

*

“Okay! Okay! We’re going live in 3 minutes! Hey! Somebody fix Zack’s mic! Jin, remembered to switch roles with Kai on chorus 6. Oh! That reminds me, Kai! Here, place this earpiece on so the music doesn’t damage your eardrum...”

With manager Sang getting us ready to go on stage, I didn’t really pay much attention to what he had to say. Instead, I paid attention to the sounds of our fans chanting out our names...

“You guys...after the press conference we did yesterday. I thought I would be able to prepare myself for this day, but I haven’t.”

Zack said in sorrow voice as he looked down at his feet...

“None of us prepared for this day...200,000 of our fans came to see us. That’s the most tickets we’ve ever sold for just one concert...and I’m sure millions will be watching us at their homes...even a certain someone. So let’s give them the best performance we could ever give together.”

Jin voiced out at him as he lightly patted his back. Though I think that only made Zack grow more emotional as he leaned himself towards Jin’s chest.

“Alright, boys! It’s time, get out there and give it your all!”

Sang shouted at us with motivation in his voice as the lights on the stage began to change color. Placing my hands on Zack and Jin’s shoulders, I gently smiled at them before speaking my last words as we made our way out!

“Let’s make history one last time...”

I didn’t care how long time had passed, from all I could remember was when we started, there was daylight. But when did the sun begin to go down? Singing my heart out, I danced my hardest along with Jin and Zack. The Melodies that I chose to sing in order went from strong rhythms to gentle songs as time passed...it felt like I was reliving the first time I performed. From only a few 100...to now millions!

How? What did I deserve to have all of these fans be by my side? I almost feel selfish for wanting to leave, I’m about to break their hearts...and I won’t ever blame them if they come to hate me for it. But just for this moment...this very moment. Let me feel their love, their cries, their pain...I want to take it. And embrace each and every one of them, I love you...I love you all so very much. Don’t ever forget that...

With our last song coming to an end, I felt my heart wanting to explode as I looked at the sea of people staring at us. Though as we stood there in silence, we were able to hear the cries of our fans screaming out to us. Holding Zacks hand on my left and Jin’s hand on my right. We deeply bowed, however, Zack dropped to his knees as he began to sob uncontrollably! Our fans only cried more at the sight of Zack breaking down.

“I’m sorry...I’m so sorry everyone...I love you all! You have no idea how much you all mean to me! And I wish...I wish I could be here with you all forever...”

Zack cried out apologizing, very soon Jin made his way towards Zack and helped him stand. With Zack crying onto Jin’s chest, he held up his mic and said his final words to the crowd...

“Goodbyes are never easy to say...so I won’t say it. But...you’ve all placed a special memory in my heart that I will carry for the rest of my life. I love you all...and yes....the rumors are true. ExEx Idol is...I’m sorry...”

Jin’s words came to an end when he was unable to speak any further. And although he tried to keep his tears from falling, he was unable to hold back the painful expression on his face as he tried to comfort Zack.

Looking at them, I gripped my mic strongly before walking closer to the edge of the stage. Hearing everyone around me breakdown in sorrow, I looked up at the night sky and closed my eyes. The cool breeze helped me breathe a little as I thought of Rose... I wish she was here, so she could make the pain in my chest go away. I had no idea that I would end up being responsible for touching the hearts of so many people...so as I finally reopened my eyes, I looked at the small lights surrounding us.

“I made so many precious memories...but there was a time...where I fell to the darkest point in my life. I almost lost myself in it...but a part of what saved me...was all of you. You’ve all shined brightly for me and pulled me out of the darkness...thank you...thank you for saving my life! Thank you for being my star...and for giving me a love that I will cherish for eternity. ExEx Idol...has come to an end. But that doesn’t mean we will be gone...I hope that you will continue to hear our music for years to come...I love you...I truly do. So please...don’t forget about us. And thank you...for everything. Goodbye...”

The very second I finished speaking, I turned around and began to walk off stage. With Jin and Zack following behind me, I could no longer hold back my tears from falling.

The uproar of our fans screaming their cries wound me as the lights on the stage turned off. With staff taking off our mic sets, I looked around and even saw our staff members crying as well. I guess it emotionally impacted them the same way. Wiping my tears, I held on to this feeling of sadness. I will forever remember this moment until the day I die...

*

“Are you sure you guys want to leave, like this so soon? It’s only been 2 days since the concert...and it’s not exactly safe if you know what I mean. Especially for you, Kai! Since Jin will be leaving for the military I have no worries about him...but you... you’re going to America which is way too sudden. I get it that you want to see MelRose...but shouldn’t you wait until-”

“I think Kai has waited long enough to go see her. It’s been a year, besides, he won’t be completely alone since bodyguard Jung will be with him.”

Jin explained in a cheerful response as we both waited for our flight numbers to be called.

Waiting in the private room, it was the middle of the day. After the concert and the press conference were aired. The guys and I, couldn’t take one step out of the company property. The swarm of paparazzi and anti-fans that were outside the building was insane! It was a fire hazard to have that many people blocking the entrance! I didn’t think people would react this strongly about us retiring!

We’ve been on the news main subject for the last 48 hours and were still trending on social media. However, I’m growing worried since the old pictures of me with Rose were beginning to reappear once again. And although they can’t see her face, it reminded me of the possible photos that were secretly taken by the beach that night when I was with her. Why hasn’t the reporter exposed any of those pictures yet!? It just doesn’t sit right with me...

“Yeah...I get it. But still...don’t you want Mel to see you off before you go? I’m pretty sure she’s gonna be upset at you for not telling her.”

Zack explained in a frustrated sigh...

“Right now...I think she’s going to deal with a lot of things once this guy shows up in her life. I think the last thing I need to do is have her worry about me. Zack, I want you to take care of yourself...and good luck. I look forward to hearing your music. Kai, be safe, and whatever happens. Promise me that you’ll take good care of her...she may seem to show off this strong persona, but you and I both know that isn’t the case...so don’t make her worry about you anymore.”

Jin spoke to both of us, but right after he finished speaking, his flight number was called along with mine!

“I think I know Rose all too well now...that’s if...she’s still the same person. Jin...thank you, for checking up on her this whole year. And being there for her when I couldn’t...Zack ...I hope you succeed in your solo career. You both...have become brothers to me and you will always be a part of my family. So I’m only gonna say this once...I love you guys...so until then...I’ll see you later...”

I explained as I went ahead and wrapped my arms around Jin and Zack. They both didn’t say anything other than returning their embrace until we finally let each other go. We each then took a different path as we parted ways...

Entering the plane, I pulled out the address where Rose was living at. Since I have never been to America on my own, this is going to be a challenge for me. And although Jung is coming with me and is sitting right next to me in first class, he’s not exactly that well educated when it comes to knowing English. Maybe I should have hired a translator? Oh well, I’ll just end up using my phone to help translate...

I’m just glad that Sang kept Rose’s backup files of her paperwork when she applied to work in Korea. Since all her personal info was on her documents. It was easy for me to just print out her address and the town she was living in. Hopefully, she’ll be happy to see me...I still have to explain everything about me finding out the truth of what happened. And if she ends up being upset at me, then I’ll accept it...

The flight to America took a bit longer than I thought it would, but after we landed. I had Jung rent out a car for us once we left the airport. With my face mask on, I refused to take it off even when I was inside the car. I really don’t want anyone to know that I’m in America at the moment. The tabloids about me and the guys have been ridiculous! So I wish to avoid the media as much as possible...

“Wait? This can’t be the place... there’s no way.”

I said to Jung in disbelief as we finally pulled up to a very small house. It was already night by the time we’ve arrived at the location.

“No, this is the place. I’m sure of it, it matches the GPS. Would you like me to knock on the door and ask if Miss. Lee is available?” Jung asked as he opened his side of the door!

“No! I’ll do it...just...give me a minute,” I responded nervously as we both stepped out of the vehicle.

Placing my hand over my heart I felt the unsettling breathing taking over me. Why am I now growing so terrified to take a step forward? I can’t believe it’s really been a year since I last saw Rose...what do I even say when I see her? I didn’t really prepare myself for this moment...all I cared about was seeing her and... hugging her. That’s all I want right now....just to feel her warmth. Rose, will you still let me hold you?

Pushing my body forward, I slowly made my way up the steps. Not too long after that, I brought my shaking hand towards the door before carefully knocking. The anxiety and tension worsened with every second that passed by. My whole body became anxious and my heart felt like it could stop beating at any moment once the door in front of me began to open!

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